Alumni create GW exclaves in D.C. area

When GW graduate Jen Tobia wants to see some of her fellow alumni, all she has to do is hop on the Metro.

“It’s fun when you have friends who live along the Orange line, because they’re all willing to meet up,” she said.

As many seniors opt to live and work in D.C. after graduation, they can find the comfort of familiar faces all around the city. Pockets of GW graduates exist in several D.C. neighborhoods and surrounding suburban areas, creating GW communities outside of Foggy Bottom.

“I have a close-knit group of friends who stayed in the area, which made it easier to make the transition from college to the real world,” said Tobia, who moved to Ballston, Va., after graduating last year. The suburban neighborhood is a 15-minute ride on the Orange line from Foggy Bottom.

Tobia said she had little trouble finding a job in the District after graduation and that she enjoys living in a community made up mostly of young professionals. She added that she especially likes Ballston’s cheap rent prices and its neighborhood feeling.

“Living in D.C., you pay for a one-bedroom (apartment) what you would pay for a two-bedroom in Virginia,” she said. “And I feel safer at night.”

Alumna Lauren Gaito said she decided to stay in the District after graduation last year to explore the city’s abundant job options.

“A big part of the reason people come to GW is to get a job,” said Gaito, now a resident of Arlington, Va. “I knew I could get a job here so I stayed.”

While some graduates may seek to live in areas outside D.C., city locations such as Dupont Circle and Adams Morgan are also attracting full-time employees who have just left college.

Janice James, executive director of Pat Taylor and Associates, Inc., a D.C. employment agency, said many college graduates live in the city for the variety of career and graduate school opportunities.

“I just look at this area as a land of opportunity, especially for people who don’t know what they want to do,” she said. “The job market here has a lot of variety, with a huge concentration of government law firms, private sector corporations and non-profit groups.”

James added that many people find entry-level jobs working as paralegals, while jobs within the federal government are harder to come by “unless you came out of an honors program.”

Gaito said she began working at a D.C. consulting firm the day after graduation, and that she first moved to Adams Morgan “to get out of Foggy Bottom.”

“I didn’t want to be near GW kids, but I wanted to be with people my age,” she said. “Surprisingly, I run into people I graduated with all the time.”

Sarah Jameson said that since moving to Clarendon, Va., she has met many fellow 2004 graduates who she never knew while taking classes here.

“You really get out of the GW bubble you lived in for four years,” she said, “but you’re only a five-minute Metro ride from the city.”

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